by Ronn Wood

(posted October 26, 2023)

Buc'ee with Blair Schaffer at the groundbreaking for the Buc'ee's in Amarillo.

Blair is Potter County Precinct 2 Commissioner.

The Travel Center is expected to open in February 2025.


(posted March 28, 2024) 

October 6, 1965

The Discovery of Herb Alpert


During the dance days when we passed the building at Amarillo Blvd E and Lakeside, I would point to it

and say, “Herb Alpert”. The crew would usually look out the windows trying to see what I was talking

about then shrug at one another completely clueless. After several years, my lightman, Jim Long, decided

he needed to know and asked me the question, “Who is this Herp Albert you’re aways talking about?”

I told him this story: It was mid-October 1965, and that building was a truck-stop with a 24-hour café

called Tam-O-Shanter. At every booth was a table-side jukebox like most diners had in those days. My

father and I stopped in for dinner as we had many times. After ordering the chicken-fried steak I flipped

through the song titles to see what I could find. Then I saw “A Taste Of Honey”. I knew that song well

since it was played occasionally on my favorite radio station, KRAY* 1360. But the version I knew was by

a group called The Three Suns. I did not know the name listed here, HERB ALPERT. It was a tune I liked

so, I popped in a quarter for 3 plays and pushed button F-9. In a few seconds I heard the first slow notes

and knew yep, it was “A Taste Of Honey” alright. But then the guy on the drums (Hal Blaine) started BAP BAP BAP

BAP and the horns came alive as “A Taste Of Honey” I had never imagined played throughout the café

to everyone’s delight! That’s how I discovered Herb Alpert! After my discovery Herb and his Tijuana Brass

went on to sell 184 million records……….That’s the way I see it, anyway.


The Truck-stop and Tam-O-Shanter Café no longer exist, and the building is now the home offices

of a trucking company. Route 66 (Amarillo Blvd) was decertified in 1985 and Lakeside is now

the eastern leg of Loop 335 (an E-way).



Two Amarillo businessmen bought KRAY in 1976 and moved their antiquated equipment

out of the Paramount Building to a new location. They obtained new broadcast gear,

changed the call letters, and applied for an FM license. Many of you will remember

the radio station that Jim Shelton and Keith Adams created with the assistance of

Ronnie Jones (Chase) called Z-93.


Herb Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, were in concert March 28, 2024 at The Jim Elliott Center For The Performing Arts in Amarillo.


(posted October 31, 2020) 

The day I met Sean Connery

Sean Connery, the greatest ‘James Bond’ actor, dies at age 90

Scottish movie legend Sean Connery, who shot to international stardom as the suave, sexy and sophisticated British agent James Bond and went on to grace the silver screen for four decades, died October 31, 2020.

I had heard about it for weeks. It was coming soon, and they said it would make an unheard of seventy-five million dollars. I decided I wanted to be a part of it. I asked my friend, Everett, and he said he knew all about it and could make it happen. So, I was all set. Everett picked me up at 7 PM and we rode Downtown to 9th and Polk. There was a girl behind the glass of a small room who said it would be 75 cents. Everett and I gave her our three quarters each and made our way into an elaborate foyer which had a candy counter and popcorn machine on one side. A curving stairway was on the other side which had a sign, “CLOSED”. I followed Everett into the hallway where he stopped and pulled back the curtains of a doorway. He ushered me inside where I found myself in a huge room with a grand chandelier glowing dimly high above. There must have been a thousand seats with hundreds of people. The floor slanted down toward the front where there was a gigantic screen. The sound coming from the huge images was unlike anything else I had ever heard. I was in awe. I had never been inside a movie theater before.

On the screen was a man on a roof shooting at some people on the ground. He fired in one direction and then the other. Another man in a white coat ran out of the building waving his arms while shouting, “Stop firing you idiots! He’s got you all shooting at each other!” The man on the roof slipped and dropped his gun which slid away. Everett and I found our way down to the 10th row and took seats in the middle of the theater. We had arrived in the middle of the movie! Everett told me that’s the way to do it because you get to see it twice for one price. (That never happened again!)

I didn’t know it at the time but the man on the roof was James Bond, Agent 007 of Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the man in the white coat was Largo, the bad guy. We had come to see my very first movie, THUNDERBALL. They said it would make seventy-five million dollars at the box office. After watching the film one and a half times I learned that James Bond was played by Sean Connery. To my surprise there was no character in the movie actually named “Thunderball”. We were at the beautiful Paramount Theater in Downtown Amarillo. I saw THUNDERBALL 3 more times during the next two weeks. In a short time I convinced Everett that we should always go to the beginning of all movies.

The day I met Sean Connery was January 20, 1966, eleven days before my 18th birthday.

Thank you George, Roger, Timothy, Pierce, and Daniel but Sean will always and forever be the best James Bond.



(posted August 3, 2020) 

Wilford Brimley died Saturday August 1, 2020. He was 85.  

  He was a well-known actor in many movies including THE THING (1982), COCOON (1985), COCOON: THE RETURN (1988), and THE FIRM (1993).

Bill Nazworth and I had dinner with him at K-Bob’s Steakhouse in Childress September 5, 1995.

   Wilford was driving from Dallas to Amarillo to star in a dinner theater play. Bill and I were on the way to Dallas. 

Returning from the salad bar I saw him sitting alone at a table and told Bill, “That looks like Wilford Brimley.” 

Bill was not the kind of person who would just take a look and leave it at that. He walked over to Wilford, 

introduced himself and they had a little chat. Then Wilford motioned for me to come over to the table. 

We had steaks and discussed his movies. He was quite pleased when I told him he was really too young for the role he played in the 

COCOON movies. (He was only 49 while the other major stars were in their 70’s)

He thanked us for noticing him and the pleasant dinner chat and we went on our ways.

Bill Nazworth died from cancer June 7, 2012 in Honolulu.

(posted June 11, 2020) 

Read the whole story here:

Ron Chase cues up the first record at the first AmaChron dance April 3, 1970:


(posted September 9, 2018) 


The Reel-to-Reel Console for Unit I was Crate 23.

It was built in 1984 and retired in 2004.

At 225 pounds it was one of the heavier crates in Unit I.

It carried the (1975) Teac 3300S reel-to-reel deck and a (1971) Realistic 909.

More than 100 songs, jingles, and special effects were played from these decks.

The Crate was in use at more than 2,000 dances during the 30 years with Unit I.

After retirement in 2004 Crate 23 sat outdoors adjacent to Two AmaChron Center.

The plan was to install #23 (with the no longer functioning tape machines

in place) into the ChronoMuseum –Mobile Sound & Light Section.

However, deterioration of the crate due to weather was extreme.

The BOYS DOWNTOWN ordered the console scrapped September 5, 2018.  

A small portion of Crate 23 was salvaged for future use.


(posted September 8, 2018) 

Debbie and Sherri Edmondson sitting on the Front Porch at Central at three points in time:



(posted August 20, 2018) 

(posted June 1, 2018) 

The TANDY 1000 computer was retired from the Unit I console May 15, 2018. It was probably the last functioning

T 1000 in the world which served a purpose. The computer listed song requests at dances for 16 years.

It was donated by Rodney Weaver in 2002. It is a 1989 model costing about $1,100.

It had enough memory to hold about one song in mp3 format but no software to play it.

(posted February 14, 2018) 

February 13, 2018 was the 20th birthday of the HOLLYWOOD 16 movie theater in Amarillo.

It was built as a STARPLEX Theater but was sold to Cinemark after one week.

So, last night I asked the staff, “How many of you were here for the grand opening?”

Five of the six hadn’t even been born yet and the assistant manager was only 5 at the time.

The theater was remodeled in 2018 featuring recliner seats and other amenities.


(posted August 11, 2017) 




Charles Sinclair's father who lived over on Cleveland Street used to own a Pawn Shop and his

backyard was filled with more than 20 years of pawned and purchased items. Mr. Sinclair, had

lost a leg in the war, and needed help moving all of it to an enclosed porch he was building on the

back of the house. Charles enlisted Darrell McDowell, Arthur Ortiz, and me to do the job with

him. For pay we would get a dollar each! The second day we came across something we thought

was a printing press. I absolutely had to have it because I'd always wanted to print a newspaper.

In a short time, I convinced Darrell and Arthur to work with me to obtain the "press". Mr. Sinclair

reluctantly agreed to give it to us instead of paying us a dollar. The machine was old, rusting, had

a dent in the cylinder, and the handle was missing. We hauled it to 1107 N. Garfield where I lived

at the time. A neighbor, Mr. Cagle, came over to take a look and told us it was something called

"mimeograph" machine. He said we'd have to get "stencils" and the proper ink to make it work.

We located the needed items at a place Downtown on Taylor Street called A. B. Dick. The store

was filled with all kinds of machines for printing and there was a wonderful fragrance of duplicating

ink. From the back room came the whirr of machines printing all kinds of posters, bulletins, and

flyers. Virgil, the guy running the shop, was very helpful, explaining what all we needed, and how

to make it work. Of course, we didn't have enough money to pay for it all. The sweet lady at the

register said we could just "owe" them the other $2.33 until we made a profit. Back at the Garfield

Street headquarters we set out to solve the problem of the missing crank handle. My father, FRW,

took a look and had a good idea. Downtown we went to Don MacMillian Ford where he bought 

a window crank handle for a 1960 Ford Falcon. It worked perfectly. We got a ream of newsprint at

Kerr Paper Company on Grant Street. Mr. Cagle's daughter, Amalee, typed up the stencil and

the first edition of the "Amarillo Texas Staft" was printed August 20. In a short time, Darrell and

Arthur lost interest in the newspaper since they didn't really have much of anything to do. I bought

their shares of the business for the $5.40 I had saved up from ad sales and subscriptions (ads were 

50 cents and a subscription was 35 cents a month). Arthur, who was 3 years older than me, said

he didn't need the money and wished me luck. I immediately changed the name of the newspaper.

to The AMARILLO CHRONICLE which was the name I'd wanted all along.

This was the beginning

of AmaChron. The newspaper is still published, sort of ............ 

''The AmarilloTexas Staft''

I haven't seen or heard from Arthur since '64 and last talked with Darrell at the Tri-State Fair in '82.

No idea what ever became if Charles or his father.

<> And there is another mimeograph story . . .


(posted April 27, 2017) 

Gaston Williams in BRONZE at Amarillo's Town Square Village:

Gaston’s grandsons, Noah and Seth, had a bronze life-size statue made of him as he looked about age 35. They kept it totally secret from everyone until the unveiling April 27 at 5:30 PM. The statue stands in the median of Town Square Blvd at the entryway to the retail / apartment area. Gaston can see it from his 5th floor condo. The St. Louis company which created the statue sent two “artists” to secretly observe Gaston in his everyday life a three months ago (you cannot make a 3D sculpture from a photo). The plaque in front of the statue reads, “Anything is possible with a strong foundation”. (Gaston got his start digging thousands of foundations during the housing boom of the ‘50s) I suggested to them that in 15 or 20 years there may be a bronze statue of Perry Williams at the other end of Town Square Blvd. [Gaston is Perry's father] The Williams Family is associated with the AmaChron Empire.

From L to R: Joyce sitting, Seth, Shylan, Gaston, bronze Gaston, Perry, Fanchun, Vicky, Noah


(posted December 30, 2016) 

The MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER Concert at the Amarillo Civic Center December 27

What a fantastic concert! I'm even ranking it above The Moody Blues concert (with Amarillo Symphony) a few years ago. There was a video with every selection on a huge LED screen behind the orchestra. I did not expect that. Their light slow was magnificent and included effects which filled the whole auditorium with dancing arrays. Lots and lots of Jim Elliott lights. High quality IMAX quality sound shook us in our seats. They got two standing ovations.

The best Christmas song ever recorded is "Deck The Halls" -Mannheim Steamroller (1984) I used to start all the Christmas dances with it

They say you can judge how good a group is by how much their live performance sounds like the studio recordings. These people sounded exactly like the originals I've been hearing for years.

I stood in line after the concert to have the major performers sign my program. I believe they were impressed when I explained that I bought my first Mannheim Steamroller album October 1, 1975. A couple of them hadn't even been born at the time.

The first time I was ever in the Amarillo Civic Center Auditorium was December 4, 1969 to see Arthur Fiedler conduct the Denver Symphony Orchestra. Bill Snead got the tickets. They played "Hey Jude" and then "Yesterday" at the end of the concert. No one these days knows who Arthur was.

  The next 100 times I was in that auditorium I was a stagehand with IATSE Local 461 and it was work, work, work (1969-1979).

Cory Doyal took this photo with his phone before the show:  

Inline image 1


(posted June 5, 2016) 

Craig Davis, ACM-36 and wife to be, Laurie, visited Amarillo's Old Route 66 while on a trip to the city for his birthday and engagement announcement. They live in the Dallas area.

(posted January 20, 2016) 

I saw my first movie January 20, 1966 at the Paramount Theater in Downtown Amarillo. It was THUNDERBALL, the fourth Bond movie. In the next couple of years I was able to see the previous three 007 movies, all in theaters, because in that time before videotape and DVDs movies were brought back for another run in theaters. The Bond movies were shown in double features so I saw DR NO and GOLDFINGER October 7, 1966. FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE was paired with THUNDERBALL which I saw at the Palace Theater in Dallas October 12, 1968.

January 20 is known in the AmaChron world as MOVIE DAY. On the 50th anniversary of MOVIE DAY I went to see STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS for the 7th time at the Regal United Artist 14 IMAX Theater in Amarillo. I have seen 6,393 movies in the past 50 years. A dim bulb of a friend commented, "Wow, imagine what you could do with all the money you spent on movies...?" Well, at today's prices I could see a couple of thousand more.


(posted December 31, 2015) 

Chronmas 2015 was celebrated at DYER'S BBQ Saturday December 26

STANDING: Renée Graham, Cory Doyal, Craig Davis, Stephen Davis, David Johnson     SITTING: Karen Touchon, RK, "Cotton" Vicki Keith <> photo by RW


(posted June 8, 2015) 

CRAIG DAY 2015 was celebrated June 6 at Dyer's BBQ

Renée at Dyers's serves Craig complimentary blackberry cobbler for his birthday.

And there was Strawberry Cream birthday cake.


posted April 6 2015)

A BIG TEXAN Event April 5, 2015

In attendance (from L to R) were "Cotton" Vicki, Dagmar Van Camp, Blanca Schaffer, Blair Schaffer, 

Brad Van Camp, Betty Davis, Craig Davis, RK, Vicky Harris, and David Johnson. Photo by RW.


(posted December 21, 2015) by RONN WOOD

Amarillo native Kevin Fowler, R. Lee Ermey, and Daren Fleming who was an AmaChron Light Man in 1987 

team up at the Armed Forces Bowl at TCU in 2015:

(posted March 12, 2015) by RONN WOOD


Jimmy Greenspoon died from cancer Wednesday March 11, 2015 at age 67.


I was a stagehand (IATSE Local 469 Amarillo)

It was October 25, 1974, the night of another THREE DOG NIGHT concert in the Amarillo Civic Center Coliseum. 

It was only my second time to run a spotlight so I became a bit apprehensive when the show's lighting director called on the headphones to tell me, 

"Okay spot 3 you OPEN the show, I want a nice, tight light on Jimmy when we start." 

"WHO'S JIMMY?" I inquired!??

"THE GUY ON THE KEYBOARDS!" came the disbelieving reply, "GET READY HERE WE GO...."

 I turned my mighty SUPER TROOPER in the direction of "Jimmy" and moved the iris lever to the position I hoped would make that 'nice tight' spot on him. 
The lights in the coliseum went dark and the light man said, "Spot 3 frame 4, standby." 

An eternity passed as I waited wondering what the eight thousand people in here were going to do if my light came on in the wrong place or too wide.
As I heard the first note from the keyboard the light man called,
"Spot 3 - CUE 1 GO." 

I held my breath as I opened the aperture and the deep blue beam from my spot illuminated Jimmy with a nice, tight circle of light from his head to the top of the keyboards. To the audience it seemed that he appeared out of the darkness. The crowd roared with cheers and applause and the light man called, 


". . .spots 1, 2, and 4 standby. . ." 

And the concert had begun. Joy to the world.

Goodbye Jimmy. . .


March 11, 2015

Fifty years ago today Don Gibbons, John Overstreet, a couple of other members of the golf team and I hauled the primitive Chronocontrol from my house to the journalism classroom at Palo Duro High. It was for "49ers Day", an annual PD celebration of the pioneers who made the trek across America to the gold fields of California circa 1849. The trail blazer was Josiah Gregg whose wagon trains cut ruts across what is now the northwest corner of the Palo Duro HS campus. A monument to him and the '49er's' now stands on the location near NE 15th and N. Grant St.

Each "home room" hosted an activity for students from noon to 3:30 PM. The journalism class had decided to operate a 'discotheque' for dancing. That's where AmaChron came in. I played the music on the twin turntable set up. (the turntables were very toy-like since I appropriated them from the tiny record players of the era) .None the less it was a grand event. Most of the records were brought in by students since I only collected real music such as The Boston Pops, Hollyridge Strings, and the like. I was really shocked when Lynn Kentosh asked for the absolutely awful song "Louie Louie". It turned out to be the biggest hit of the day. There were lots of Ventures instrumentals (I had all those), a bunch of Dave Clark Five, some Johnny Rivers, and Sandy Nelson was popular. Things got even more exciting about 2 PM when someone turned out the lights.

  Was this the first AmaChron dance? Yes, but no. The first official AmaChron dance was April 3, 1970 at the Jubilee Roller Rink (the first one I was PAID to do). It was a two night event at which Ronnie Jones (Ron Chase*) played the tunes.

  Now, I ask, does any one else remember what they did 50 years ago today?

  The music of the day has been released by ARC AmaChron Recording Company.

Inline image 1

[CD, cassette, 8-track, reel-to-reel, as mp3 files, and as an mp3 compilation]


Chronmas Event 2014



THE FIRST MOON LANDING (Reposted  July 20, 2014 from the AmaChron Summer of '69 LOG)

7840 Sunday July 20, 1969 HIGH 93 LOW 73

12:01 @ SC, Ronnie Jones is in the basement playing records >>>12:33 AM Jerry Young arrives, he wants food. We all go to the Coronado Inn by 12:47 AM. I have chicken-fried steak, they have burgers. Leave there by 1:40 AM, return to SC. Jerry leaves. “Jones” goes back to basement to play records. (ChronoControl is only about 50% complete) 2:02 AM <> (to this point) 2:33 AM I go down to basement to work on C-Control. “Jones” plays and plays the tunes. . .3:03 AM he goes to sleep behind the Dr Pepper machine. I finish the C-Control work by 4:00 AM. (it’s hot, turn on bedroom air conditioner) 4:20 AM ---->

  [  ] 12:06 PM the house is shaking because “Jones” is playing the music really LOUD! I go to breaker box and TURN OFF basement breakers……a short time later he comes upstairs to see what has happened….figures it out, goes back downstairs and plays records at a lower volume. 1:20 PM shower, get ready. Jerry arrives by 2:45 PM. We all go to Lomax’s by 2:51 PM, get food. Go to The Larry Cox Recording Studio by 3:30 PM, meet Jr. Keith there (he is running the studio for Larry Cox who has moved to California).

3:18 PM APOLLO 11 has lands on the MOON! (Neil Armstrong, and ‘Buzz’ Aldrin are in the lander, Eagle I, Michael Collins is in the command module orbiting above)

At the studio a customer arrives to check out recording possibilities. We all leave by 4:45 PM. Return to SC by 5:00 PM. Turn on the little TV and watch the MOON LANDING coverage on Channel 10. Walter Cronkite is reporting. 5:44 PM Ronnie Jones’ mom comes to pick him up and take him to his far away home on Adirondack Street. I work on ChronoControl, play music, etc. 7:30 PM Jerry arrives. We go to Lomax’s for burgers. Return to SC by 8:15 PM, Jerry leaves. I watch more of the MOON LANDING coverage. 9:50 “Mama Lou” calls to tell me to be sure to watch…I tell her I have the TV on! 9:56 PM Neil Armstrong steps off the lander to become the FIRST MAN TO SET FOOT ON THE MOON! He says, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” One billion people on earth are watching this! Neil is a civilian, this is not a military event! 10:02 PM “Jones” calls, says “Did you see that!?” I assure him I did. We talk. 10:15 “Buzz” Aldrin comes down the ladder to set foot on the lunar surface. He says "Beautiful view, magnificent desolation." 10:20 PM I play “Also Sprach Zarathustra” over the phone.

USA - 1 Sputnik – 0, we won! 10:31 PM I deliver an “I WON” to “Jones” on the phone, hand up! Hahahahahahaha à

11:00 PM work on ChronoControl while Neil and “Buzz” are on the MOON. 11:20 PM Jerry arrives. We drink a toast to Apollo 11 with a Dr Pepper from my machine.

Watch more MOON LANDING coverage. Walter Cronkite says it’s great to have good news to report for a change. . .

12 M Jerry leaves as I play more MOON music.

(Hot, humid, sunny day. SW breezes, balmy night)

Dave owes me a pizza!


 7841Monday July 21, 1969 

12:10 AM BJ calls from Endicott, New York, asks, “Did you see that . . .?”

+ + + +

Buzz Aldrin on the moon

December 26, 2013:

1969 - 2013: Now celebrating the 45th CHRONMAS

Here's what it looked like just 30 years ago, December 26, 1983:

[  ] Sonya Carnes, Nancy's deviled eggs, Zona Long, Pat and Kathy Jansen, Robert Faucett, Rodney Weaver, Jim Elliott, David Johnson, Lisa Chase, Nancy Wills, Konii Dalman, Angel Lewellyn, Bill Nazworth, Melody Smith, Lou Barnes, Ralph and Beth Duke, Stephany Lewellyn, Ronnie and Vicki Keith, Andrea Swift, RW, Ernest and Sue Harbin, Billy Pendergrass, "Uncle" Dave Wilson, Stephen Smith, Shalota, Shelly from Radio Shack, Bill Snead, and Heather Thomas on the calendar [  ]


Michelle Schaffer (& Logan) won BIG cash in the "Name The 1970 - 2010 Medley Songs " contest.

April 4, 2010

                                                                                                  -iPhone photo by Blair Schaffer


And now this  from Ernest CLICK HERE


1970 - 2010



July 20, 2009 MOON DAY 40 at AmaChron Central <> 11 PM

standing: Tommy, Dakota, Diane, Blair         in front: Derek, Colton       photo by: RW

Volleyballs are in proxy for the MOON.

Below is a model Lunar Lander on a Pepperoni Pizza at Shakey's July 21, 1969, to notify Dave that we won!


San Diego Comic-Con 2009

Lisa Chase with Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama in BATTLESTAR GALACTICA)

and with Michael Hogan (Colonel Tye) Golly, he looks so much younger in person!




(posted February 25, 2007)

The area at what is now I-40 and Western Street was a muddy playa lake until late 1966. Construction began on Western Plaza in the fall of that year. The mall opened February 29, 1968. But Montgomery Ward and Woolco had completed their buildings months earlier and held grand openings August 9, 1967. (I was the 6th person through the doors at Woolco) For the benefit of shoppers during construction of the mall at Christmas time '67 a tunnel made of scaffolding and plywood connected Wards and Woolco. The other major anchor was a White and Kirk department store. White and Kirk, a local company, operated a very fine store in downtown Amarillo for decades. In the 70's W&K was purchased by Sakowitz which eventually sold the store to Dunlaps. Dunlaps moved away in the early 2000s. My first job ever was at Radio Shack in the east end of the mall. It was the first Radio Shack store in the region. The store closed July 27, 2002 (I helped the manager shut the sliding doors). A Furr's Cafeteria was in the mall from the beginning and for many years Wards had a small cafeteria of its own. Woolco had its own version, the Red Grill. Furr's closed April 23, 2006 (I was the last customer out the door). General Cinema Corp. of Dallas opened a 1,000 seat theater March 29, 1968 featuring THE GRADUATE. The huge auditorium was divided into two theaters in 1974. The cinema ceased operation in 1991 but a local comedy club took over providing entertainment in one auditorium while showing independent movies in the other until 1993. A 10-screen cinema was rumored for WP but never materialized. The first Hastings store opened with the mall. It was a very tiny store, probably only a tenth the size of current Hastings operations. (Hastings is headquartered in Amarillo and operates from a former Sears building near Sunset Center Mall) Western Plaza had two sets of fountains, a large one near Wards and smaller one near the Woolco side. The center of the mall was a large, bright, open area with a few kiosks such as Orange Julius. The mall had 43 stores at its height. Woolco closed January 15, 1983 (I was there when they turned out the lights for the last time). The Woolco building became a Wilsons store a few months later. Wilsons sold to Service Merchandise a few years later. The Service Merchandise Company went out of business in the late '90s and the building was empty until the Graham Central Station nightclub opened there in 2004. Montgomery Ward went out of business in 2001. That building was never occupied again. A new regional shopping complex, Westgate Mall, opened October 6, 1982 four miles west of WP on I-40. Western Plaza was renovated somewhat in 1983 and held on for a few more years but was ultimately doomed. New owners terminated the leases of the few stores still operating there and by mid 2006. The old mall structure has been razed and a new 10 building complex known as Western Crossing is under construction in its place. The new development will include several stores, office space, restaurants, and possibly a hotel and residential section. I've been told that Radio Shack will open a new store there as soon as they can. I will be at the grand opening.

The construction of Western Plaza Mall 1967:

GRAND OPENING February 29, 1968

Aerial view in 2002

and in 2005:


The Demolition of Western Plaza Mall June 2007

The empty mall

I saw 388 movies here (1968 - 1992)

Cinema Entrance inside the mall (June 20, 2007)

East entrance of the mall

Inside the mall (this was RADIO SHACK)

White & Kirk - Sakowitz - Dunlaps

Montgomery Ward

Western Plaza is gone and has been replaced by Western Crossing featuring Burlington Coat Factory, Pet-Co, Mardel Bookstore, Michaels, Cheddars, Rudy's Bar-B-Que, Starbucks, Olive Garden, Hoagie's Deli, Kalachie Cafe, and more. Three 4-story hotels wise rise on the site also. And we're waiting for RADIO SHACK.

Western Crossing opened in 2008 covering all the old Western Plaza Mall area:

It includes Burlington Coat Factory, Petco, Michaels, several food vendors: an Olive Garden Restaurant,

Cheddars, Rudy's Country Store & BBQ, Hoagies Deli, Lemongrass Sushi & Wok, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, 

and a sandwich shop. Also, a Murphy Express Fueling Center, a 24 hour Private Emergency Hospital, and 3 hotels: 

Staybridge Suites, Cottonwood Suites, and Comfort Suites. An area on the NE corner is available for future development.




Amarillo's forgotten mall, SUNSET CENTER, is still in use:

(though not as a retail center)




 (posted January 30, 2006)



(posted May 5, 2005)

They tore down a building at 10th and Taylor today. For many years it housed the *Western Auto Store.

Another gapping hole in downtown.
It should be noted that this store is where I purchased my first tape recorder (1962).


*Western Auto is now called ADVANCED AUTO PARTS


 Goodbye UA Cinema 6.

(posted Friday August 23, 2002:)

The UA Cinema 6 Theater building on I-40 W. was demolished today.
Construction began in October 1979 and the theater opened June 20, 1980.
It ceased operation July 30, 1998 and the structure remained vacant. 
A hotel will be built in its place.
I saw 1,182 movies there:
   the 1st The BLUES BROTHERS (grand opening gala June 20, 1980)
   the 120th RETURN OF THE JEDI (May 25, 1983)
   the 500th DIE HARD (July 22, 1988)
   the 1000th MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING (July 22, 1997)
   the last SLIDING DOORS (May 25, 1998)
Theater one of the UA Cinema 6 was equiped with certified THX Sound in May 1984 for the premier of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. THX certification had been revoked by 1988. It was the only Amarillo theater to ever have THX Sound.
United Artists built the Amarillo Star, a 14-screen theater near I-40 and Soncy. It opened November 20, 1998.


Goodbye UA-6


Agenda for a great Vegas Trip:
(posted July 30, 2002)
     [NOTE: Las Vegas has changed significantly since this was written and many of these sites and events may no longer exist]
Park in the Treasure Island garage and make your way into the hotel.
Not much to see here except the battle of the pirate ship out front.
  Before or after the battle go across bridge over Las Vegas Blvd to The Venetian Hotel. Lots to see here.
Plan to spend an hour looking at the canal, mall, and casino. Many works of art and a replica of St. Mark's Sq. is included. And don't miss the living statues.
Return to Treasure Island (same bridge) and head for the back of the hotel where you will find the tram to The Mirage Hotel. Board the train and arrive at Mirage where you will want to go through the doors and around to the right to take a look at the huge fish tank behind the registration desks. Back to the main entrance you turn right across the bridge through the jungle (an excellent area for pictures of the group).
Continuing right around the bend into the casino area you can make your way to The Mirage Buffet (this is the best buffet in Vegas) where you can have a wonderful lunch (best tomatoes on the planet). After the meal some slot machine action is suggested. Then move on through the hotel down the hallway to see the white tigers. (Actually I don't know if they're still there). The end of the hall is the moving sidewalk out from where you will find the entrance to Caesar's Forum, a very nice shopping mall. Be sure to stop at the first fountain on the hour and wait around to see what happens. Same thing on the fountain at the far end of the mall. Lots of stuff to buy so bring money. You might do dessert at Planet Hollywood. The mall empties directly into Caesar's Palace casino. Observe the characters dressed in ancient Roman attire throughout the complex. In the Coliseum Celine Dion's Show except when Elton John is there or vice versa. Males will like the Shadow Bar so at least take a look through the door. Leave Caesar's through the front door to take a look at the beautiful fountains. Evil Knievel jumped over them in '66. (If you don't know who Evil Knievel is you're really not old enough to be in Vegas).
Across the street to the south is The Bellagio Hotel (it was the most expensive hotel ever built at more than $1 billion when it went up). Don't miss the dancing fountains of water out front (you saw them in OCEAN'S ELEVEN - - - if you haven't seen OCEAN'S ELEVEN- - -jeez you're a real loser). Much to see on the inside including the gardens. If you like art there's a very nice gallery. I recommend the show "O" playing there but cheap seats are $100.
Make your way next door to Monte Carlo Hotel. Good food here too. You should be playing some slots in all these never know...After you've looked over everything head to the back where you'll find an elevated train to whish you down to Excalibur Hotel.
Excalbur's theme is King Arthur and the boys. A lot to see and the gift shop is pretty good. You might want to try dinner while watching the jousting knights sometime (but not now). You can use the walkway or go back to the front of the hotel and catch the train to Luxor.
Luxor is the 400 foot tall black pyramid based on ancient Egypt. There's a great simulated ride on the level above the casino. You'll need a snack break at the food court there too. Luxor doesn't have elevators. Inclinators are used to get guests up the 40 levels. But don't bother trying to ride one. You'll need a hotel key to make it work. Back out front to catch the train to Mandalay Bay. Take a look at the vastness and observe the swimming area (lower level). The girl who goes up and down on a wire to retrieve wine in one of the boozer places is pretty interesting but they won't let you in if you're wearing sports shoes. You can watch through a window on the main hallway. At the far east end of the complex is shark observatory. You walk through tunnels surrounded by water to see the fish. (I found the architecture much more interesting than the creatures). It's $12 or more and is an automated tour.
You can ride the train back to Excalibur then cross the over street bridge to take a look at The Trpoicana. Nothing special there so cross the next bridge to The MGM Grand. This is one of the world's biggest hotels (5,002 rooms). See lots inside including some more boring animals (lions I believe). Some good desserts are to be had at the Rainforest Cafe. The MGM Theme Park is gone but it wasn't very interesting anyway. When you're done there board the monorail at the back entrance which will take you a mile or so to Bally's Hotel.
Bally's used to be MGM. (I won $600 at roulette there in '85) It's worth a look around then take the connecting shopping walkway to Paris Hotel next door.
Paris Vegas is a great place and has an excellent French food buffet. I ate some of all those words I'd heard French class. Stroll around awhile before making your way to the Eiffel Tower. It's only 50% the size of the real thing but when you get to the top there's a great view. (A lot of us will never make it to the real one). Be sure to stay up there long enough to watch the water fountain show at Bellagio which is just across the street. Get a mini-tower souvenir at the gift shop in the casino. Go out the front doors and turn left to walk down to the Aladdin Hotel.
The old Aladdin was torn down and this massive new stucture replaced it. The mall around the casino contains 130 stores but no Radio Shack. On the east side a rain shower erupts over a small body of water. Just look for the ship and you'll find it. Leave via the front and walk north along the strip past Paris and Bally's to the bridge over Flamingo Rd. to the Barbary Coast Hotel.
Nothing to see at the B. Coast but be sure to go through The Flamingo Hilton which is next door. This is the hotel Bugsy Siegel built which got "The Strip" going back in '46. (If you haven't seen the movie BUGSY- - -you're a bigger loser than I thought)
Walking north from Flamingo you'll pass several hotels and casinos on your way back to The Venetian. If you didn't see enough of Venetian before take another look before crossing back over the bridge to Treasure Island where you'll have another chance to see the pirate battle out front (weather or something always cancelled the show when I was waiting to see it).
You'll be happy to be back at your car since this tour will take you 8 or 9 hours to complete and this is just a small part of Las Vegas.
Be sure to go to the La Vegas Hilton and do STAR TREK EXPERIENCE. Many of us say it's the best thing in Vegas. You'll end up at Quark's where you can have a hamBORGER (get it? The Borg...) or other foods. If you are not a STAR TREK fan there is really no reason for you to be going on any kind of vacation to anywhere.
You have to see downtown. They call it The Freemont Experience. Be sure to go at night and stay long enough to see a show or two (just look up). The casinos down there pay off a little more and are, of course, much smaller. Freemont Street was open to traffic until 1995. Back in 1970 James Bond did a major chase scene down this street in DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER (if you're not a James Bond fan- - -maybe you're related to that loser Blofeld).
I've heard of people going to Vegas and not going up on the Stratosphere Tower (1,149 feet tall). I can't imagine why they would do that. Afraid of heights maybe? There's a great view of the city from inside and outside. The roller coster ride on top is OK but the scariest thing about it is the line in which you have to wait to get to the 55 second ride. There's also a ride that shoots you up to the tip top of the tower and allows you to fall on a cushion of air. Send me a postcard from up there and get other souvenirs.
You'll want to go to Circus Circus one day and watch the flying trapeze show. On the second level (which is really for kids) there's a midway like the Fair...but no color wheel. Scenes from DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER were filmed here. The Adventure Dome amusement park is located at the back of the complex where the rides are $3 but it's not nearly as good as the Tri-State Fair.
The Rio Hotel at night is like Rio de Janeiro during mardis gras. Great, great seafood buffet. Be sure to see the show above the floor some time. 
Be sure to go to Hoover Dam and take the tour. Take the longer "Hard Hat" tour. It's the best way to see all the dam generators, dam facilities, and all the other dam stuff. It was $25 when I was last there but worth every penny. You get to keep the dam hard hat and it's much more involved than the simple little dam tour they do for the common people. You'll walk among all the dam people doing their dam jobs. It's the biggest dam thing you'll ever see.
If you do all these things you will still have only done a little bit of Las Vegas but it's a good start and there are years and years to come.
...did I mention the Liberace Museum? It's on Tropicana Blvd.

[NOTE: Las Vegas has changed significantly since this was written and many of these sites and events may no longer exist]




Please STOP the spam! 

(posted January 2, 2007)

In 2006 I received 414,348 spam-garbage e-mails which used up space and wasted my valuable time to delete them. 

The spam clutter caused the loss of at least $700.00 income.

I received 2,182 valid e-mails (70% of them from Andy Lange).
Ron Chase sent me 57 e-mails (not including movie totals and news stories).
Yes, these are accurate totals. . .I wrote it all down daily.



(posted August 14, 2006)
Today I saw my 5,000th movie. (Cinemark Hollywood 16 - theater 7)
 Unfortunately, it was "STEP UP", not a very good flick, which will be quickly forgotten. All movies should be seen in a theater not on a TV set. Even the bad ones.



(posted August 1, 2006)

This photo of the Mars Rover scientists appeared with the story in a major news magazine a few years ago. I printed the picture, added my comments, and sent it to Coca Cola headquarters in Atlanta. In a short time I received a letter expressing their delight and stating that my submission now adorned one of the bulletin boards at the corporate offices. Enclosed were coupons for a couple of cases of Coke.

The photo below is a group of NASA scientists wondering why the
Mars Rover failed to operate properly.
The problem is obvious to me: